Marriott Hacked Again


A Marriott hotel in Chicago, Illinois in what now passes for happier times: November 2018.

A Marriott resort in Chicago, Illinois in what now passes for happier moments: November 2018.
Image: Scott Olson (Getty Illustrations or photos)

It is been a undesirable thirty day period for resort chain Marriott Worldwide. Last 7 days, it furloughed tens of 1000’s of personnel as vacation plummeted in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, and its inventory price has plummeted in excess of 50 p.c from the start of the 12 months. On Tuesday, it also disclosed that it was hacked, yet again, with the documents of up to 5.2 million company exposed.

That is the third prosperous cyber assault in opposition to Marriott in the very last 18 months, in accordance to the Wall Road Journal. This one particular is a great deal smaller sized than the 2018 breach which exposed over 500 million client documents and uncovered the resort chain to significant legal liability and a $124 million GDPR great, and it appears to involve significantly less delicate facts. But it is substantially greater than breach disclosed in Oct 2019 of 1,552 employees’ names, addresses, and Social Safety figures.

The attackers may well have stolen up to 5.2 million records of participants in its Marriott Bonvoy loyalty plan, Marriott mentioned in a push launch, with the uncovered information such as contact and address aspects, loyalty method data, and private information and facts like employer, gender, and birthday. The chain believes the attack began in January 2020, though it didn’t recognize it right up until the conclusion of February.

Marriott Hacked Again

The hotel chain wrote in the release there was no evidence that the attackers were able to access any payment information, like credit card numbers and PINs. It said the same of customer passwords, passports, and IDs. However, breaches such as this can help cybercriminals pull off more sophisticated phishing scams that aim to trick exposed users into handing over banking credentials.

Marriott spokesman Brendan McManus told the Journal that whoever was behind the attack used login credentials for two employees of a franchised hotel in Russia. He declined to comment on whether those staffers are suspect, telling the paper “Our investigation is ongoing, and it is too premature to comment on that.”

“Most breaches could simply be prevented with multifactor authentication,” David Kennedy, CEO of cybersecurity firm TrustedSec, told Wired. “For any type of elevated access, organizations should be leveraging enhanced security controls. Multifactor authentication should be applied for everyone. And for elevated accounts that have high levels of access, the scrutiny on security should be even more extensive.” 

Rusty Carter, president of security firm Arxan Technologies, told Wired that “There are outstanding questions about the security of Marriott’s APIs and how hotels are allowed to access them.” 

Marriott said it has emailed users involved in the breach from the address, will prompt them to set up two-factor authentication on loyalty accounts, and will additionally extend one year of identity monitoring services to those affected. According to the Journal, the UK Information Commissioner’s office—which issued the $124 million fine over the last breach—said it was in contact with the company.

“But when you get into multiple breaches, then you’re automatically going to be dealing with intense scrutiny from the regulators,” former Florida consumer protection official and Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfort PA parter Richard Lawson told the Journal. “The idea being, of course, that this company was on notice, this company had this issue before, and had a visit from us before. And here we are again.”



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